Wolfpack Wins Junkanoo Jam; Whittington Named MVP
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Island Tournament MVP Khadijah Whittington scored 26 points to lead tournament-champion NC State to a 63-41 victory over Eastern Michigan in the final game of the Lucaya Division of the Junkanoo Jam Saturday afternoon at St. Georges High School.
Whittington added 13 rebounds for her seventh straight double-double in as many games this season for NC State (6-1). Megan Zullo added 12 points and was also named to the All-Tournament team. In addition, Shayla Fields had 11 points, five assists and three steals.
Canea Williams had 18 points on six 3-pointers, while Alyssa Pittman, who entered the game averaging over 22 points a game, was held to 14 points and turned the ball over 10 times, including eight in the first half.
The Pack opened the second half with a 17-2 run that gave them a 48-25 advantage with 11:25 to go. The Eagles never got any closer than 19 points the rest of the way.
NC State went on an 18-5 run after falling behind 3-0 in the early minutes of action. Zullo canned three of her four first-half 3-pointers to pace the Wolfpack in the opening minutes seven minutes.
EMU used the same tactic to get back in the game, with Williams draining three straight trey's to pull the Eagles to within one, 22-21, with 5:55 left until halftime.
However, the Pack closed strong on a 9-2 spurt to take a 31-23 lead into the break. Two free throws each from Chanita Jordan and Whittington extended the lead in the final minute as the Pack converted all seven of its shots from the line in the first half.
The active NC State defense forced 19 first-half turnovers, which turned into 18 points. EMU shot an impressive 53.3 percent (7-15) from the field, but only got off 15 shots in all. The Pack also did not allow the Eagles to grab a single offensive rebound in the opening 20 minutes.
It was the Pack’s first in-season tournament championship since winning its own NC State Tournament during the 2005-06 campaign.
The Wolfpack return to action on Thursday at home against Illinois in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tip off is scheduled for 7 pm at Reynolds Coliseum.